Martin nodded but said nothing. He was worried that decreasing visibility from the rain and sleet would hamper their efforts. German barrages still concentrated on positions they’d left more than an hour ago, but it wouldn’t be long before they adjusted their sights to put the Nineteenth in danger. Continual movement was critical.
“Not much opposition,” Martin said to Nully.
“Can’t last, sir. Have to get on with consolidating our position.”
Martin heard the rumble of tanks advancing on their left and checked his watch. Beyond the hulking machines, he could see the vague outline of soldiers from another brigade. These men would lip-frog the Nineteenth and continue to push forward, leaving German forces almost no time to exit their deep dugouts and defend against the infantry advance. Once again, the sky filled with howling madness.
“Dig in. Over here, dig in,” Martin shouted to be heard. “Bernstein, get your machinegun working. Hurry. I need it now.”
Less than ten feet away, Bernstein knelt on the ground and flipped open the front legs that steadied the gun. Kirby stretched beside him and readied a belt of ammunitions. The rest of Martin’s platoon fanned out along a low ledge of sandbags. Nully crouched nearby waiting for orders. A group of signalers began to dig a cable trench, two of them carrying a huge roll of wire. Shells burst to their left.
Although Time and Regret by M.K. Tod is presented as an historical with mystery elements, by the end of the novel I had the impression it was actually more centered on Grace’s romance. The story proceeds on a dual timeline, one in 1915-19 where Martin takes part to WWI, and one in 1991 where Grace – Martin’s granddaughter – tries to solve a puzzle Martin left for her to solve.
To do so, Grace flies to France from New York and there she meets a man she falls for.
Her romance with Pierre is one of those that romance readers will love. Personally, not being a romance reader, I preferred Martin’s timeline, with the experience of war.
WWI was one of the most horrid European experiences of the XX century, and only because WWII was even worse, what WWI did to this continent is often forgotten. But it left millions of dead, millions of people maimed in the body and soul (mostly young people), destruction everywhere, a terrible economic and political situation and a world that was forever changing and was not stable yet.
M.K. Todd succeeds in giving a good image of how this all began in the trenches of WWI. The destruction, the death, the chocking sensation that what was before is lost and what’s ahead might not be a future worth living. This all comes off in the long sections of Martin’s war experience and give a very strong impression of it, especially in the central part of the novel.
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